The Good Samaritan Society, a Lutheran Social Service Organization, is a not-for-profit, registered charity with over 65 years of experience providing specialized health and community care services in innovative and caring environments.
by Matt Joy, Director, Mission, Ethics, Research, and Reconciliation
The air is dry, the land is barren, and the heat is overwhelming. This is the middle of the Arabian Desert, a vast wilderness spanning 2.3 million square kilometres, far from the ideal playground for those with a green thumb or aspiring horticulturalists among us. Be that as it may, journey 40 kilometres outside of the capital city of Bahrain, Manama, and an awesome sight will capture your attention and spark wonder.
On a hill for all to see is a spectacle that draws thousands of people every year, who marvel in its shadow. There stands the Shajaratal- Hayat, The Tree of Life, nearly 10 metres high, exuberantly green, and over 400 years old. Surrounded by sand as far as the eyes can see, this tree is a ripe image of hope – a sign that with the right root system, life can thrive in the face of adversity. One of the prominent theories on how this is possible is connected to the elaborate root systems that scientists believe to stretch 50 metres beneath the surface capable of reaching deep beds of underground water.1 Defying the odds and being a catalyst for life is most certainly connected to a vibrant root system. This, is remarkably similar to the Good Samaritan way.
Our faith-based identity reminds us that the care we provide to those in need is a reflection of the value and dignity God has placed in humanity and an extension of love that is best served without condition. In the proverbial soil of the heart and soul of Good Samaritan is where our care is enriched and nourished for the mission.
An old testament writer, Jeremiah, describes the importance of our roots to our work of care. He says,
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)2
What a poignant reminder that where we are planted matters and how critical the health of our root systems are. As the winds of the latest health crisis show up fierce and unexpectedly; as the realities of staffing shortages are carried with the model of care we hold as a standard; as every one of us faces the heat of pressures that life inevitably brings our way; as any other unimaginable challenge arrives at our doorstep, our ability to rise above and continue forward, together, is directly tied to our roots. In the presence of trial, there can be triumph. The Good Samaritan story can be one of resilience rooted in what’s right.
Christian hospitality is our heart and our care is without conditions or qualifiers.
In a spirit of compassion, we work in supportive partnerships and open our hearts to others by affirming their goodness and potential.
We provide safe, comfortable communities inspiring involvement, where people experience a sense of caring, belonging and purpose.
We lead through giving of ourselves in service to others, by acting with courage in a trustworthy and ethical manner.
These roots go deep. They stretch back to the quiet moment where a Leduc farmer sensed God sowing a seed for impact, planting a dream in his heart. These roots connect every single donor who selflessly gave of their own resources to better life for another. They are interwoven in the soil of countless volunteer hours that have been invested to lift others. You see them at the many board tables over the decades through countless leaders who have leveraged their voice, experience, and skills to lead Good Samaritan forward. These roots are what connect every staff member throughout the Good Samaritan family regardless of their role or location.
There is no way for us to know what is to come, but we can take confidence that history reminds us that we can overcome and serve in unity when we are rooted in what’s right.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of the Journey. Read this and other issues of the Journey here.